“One father is more than a hundred Schoolemasters”*

(*Quote by George Herbert, Outlandish Proverbs, 1640)

So I innocently happened upon this essay at a wonderful web site I like to frequent and I was in no way prepared for my reaction. Without warning, all of the anger, frustration, and disappointment that I keep locked up tight and buried deep within my heart came rushing out like a flood.

Every word of this piece just tore at my mother’s heart. And now that Only Son is in trouble—and serious trouble this time; not the piddly curfew violations of summers past for which a slap on the wrist wasn’t even proffered—the justice-seeking mama bear in me wants someone else to have to pay for it, as well. As irrational as it may be, there is still a tiny part of me that insists on believing that if his father hadn’t died so suddenly five years ago then maybe my son wouldn’t be making bad choices. Or that if he’d only had the chance to say goodbye to his dad before he died, maybe he wouldn’t be making bad choices. Or that if the stepmother had actually held a funeral, and my son had been able to see his father’s body, it might have given him some closure—and he wouldn’t be making bad choices.

But the biggie—the thing that has been a stumbling block for me these five long years and that fills me with fury (and I don’t even know if I can call it righteous anger because I don’t know that it IS righteous), an anger with such ferocity that it scares me, especially because rage isn’t an emotion I ever allow myself—is that what I prayed for the hardest never happened. The men I prayed for God to send to fill in the gap that the kids’ dad’s death had left never did materialize. The men I had blithely assumed would feel called to step up to the plate and do something—ANYTHING—to take on a fatherly kind of role for my son just Never. Showed. Up.

I kept waiting and waiting, thinking “any minute now.” And it just didn’t happen.

So here we are, all these years and trials and tragedies and multiple losses later, and I am standing by as my worst fears are being realized. Only Son has gotten himself in trouble, and there’s no man who’s going to show up to help him through it. Once again, he’s stuck with me. Just me. And the above essay spells it out in perfect clarity. In black and white block letters eighty-five feet tall: Boys need their fathers. Their father. A father.

I’m very scared for my boy. The pain and sadness and hurt for what he’s lost and can never retrieve are overpowering me in a way that hasn’t happened in a very long time. I felt powerless to stop it, so I just let it have its way. Tears are healing. Tears are good. I wonder how many tears my son will have to shed before he himself is healed.

Genuine outrage is not just a permissible reaction to the hard-pressed Christian; God himself feels it, and so should the Christian in the presence of pain, cruelty, violence, and injustice. God, who is the Father of Jesus Christ, is neither impersonal nor beyond good and evil. By the absolute immutability of His character, He is implacably opposed to evil and outraged by it. ~ Os Guinness


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